Historic meeting and gulf derby kick off last eight

  • Tunisia and Oman kick off Qatar 2021 quarter-finals

  • Hosts take on UAE in hotly contested derby

  • Winners progress to the last four

The FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021™ knockout phase gets underway on Friday with two contrasting, although equally important, fixtures.

Group B winners Tunisia face Group A runners-up Oman for the first time in a competitive setting – the pair having met just once before for a friendly back in 2011 – before hosts Qatar take on neighbours UAE in the latest edition of the Gulf Derby.

Having won all three of their group games, Al Annabi will be hoping to extend that impressive run against a UAE side keen to improve on their group-stage performances. FIFA.com previews the first two quarter-final fixtures at Qatar 2021.

Friday 10 December 2021 (all times local)

Quarter-finals

Tunisia-Oman (Education City Stadium, 18:00) Qatar-UAE (Al Bayt Stadium, 22:00)

Jaziri carrying Tunisian hopes Having netted three goals in the group phase to lead the tournament’s scoring charts, all eyes will be on Tunisia’s Seifeddine Jaziri, who will be hoping to add to that tally and lead the Carthage Eagles into the last four with the help of in-form captain Youssef Msakni. Coach Mondher Kebaier has received a significant boost with the return of midfielder Yasin Chikhaqui, who took part in training on his return from injury. Unity brings strength While Tunisia will be hoping some of their highly skilled individuals can make the difference, Oman coach Branko Ivankovic knows his side’s team spirit and selflessness could be the key to going further at the tournament. Their solidity and discipline were evident in their group game against the hosts, when only a goal deep in added time denied them a share of the spoils. The Croatian coach will be without full-back Amjad Al Harthi, who picked up a second yellow card against Bahrain on Monday.

Another Gulf opponent for Qatar Having overcome three Gulf teams in the group phase, Qatar will face another opponent from the region in the shape of quarter-final opponents UAE. Al Annabi go into this game as firm favourites, not only because of the form that saw them win their three group games, but also because they beat their opponents on the last two occasions they met, in the AFC Asian Cup (4-0) and the Gulf Cup (4-2), both in 2019. Coach Felix Sanchez will once again be expecting big things from captain Hassan Alhaydos, in-form star Akram Afif and striker Almoez Ali. All three starred in the final match of the group stage and played a key role in the team’s aforementioned 2019 defeats of UAE. UAE eye an upset Al Abyad know they are in for a battle royale against the hosts on Friday. After all, Qatar and Morocco were the only teams to emerge from the group stage with 100 per cent records. They will be especially wary of their opponent’s front line, who opened the scoring in all three of their fixtures, while also netting four of their six goals late on in games. Coach Bert van Marwijk will be without one of his most experienced players in captain Walid Abbas, who received a second yellow card against Tunisia. The Dutchman will also be hoping the team’s all-time top scorer, Ali Mabkhout, recovers in time after missing the final group game through injury.

The quotes

“We need to turn the page quickly from the UAE game and not over celebrate this, because the quarter-finals will be difficult. I hope we can show our strength in the next round.” Youssef Msakni, Tunisia captain, talking to FIFA.com “The game against UAE won’t be easy or like the previous encounters, as they are now a different team. It will be difficult, but we hope we can win to qualify for the semis.” Hassan Alhaydos, Qatar captain